J. Gustavo Rivera, incumbent—Democrat, Working Families
What is your position on rent regulation, what work have you done in the past to further that position, and if elected, what would you do in 2019?
As a representative of one of the districts with the most rent-regulated units, I understand how critical it is that we preserve our affordable housing, and how loopholes in the law encourage the deregulation of units. In 2014, I fought to extend and strengthen tenant protections. In 2019, my focus will be pushing for the repeal of policies that encourage landlords to push out tenants to deregulate units, such as vacancy decontrol and the vacancy bonus.
What do you believe is the biggest issue facing the New York City Housing Authority, and how would you address it?
NYCHA faces significant operational and infrastructure challenges that continuously place the health and well-being of its tenants at risk. NYCHA’s lapsed in conducting lead inspections and the frequent heat outages in its developments, make it clear that we need to keep its management accountable. Yet, the biggest issue facing NYCHA is that the majority of its buildings have major capital needs, and it lacks the funding to adequately rehabilitate its crumbling housing stock.
Do you believe that there is a need for more affordable housing in New York, and if so, what would you do to meet that need?
Absolutely. We are facing a housing shortage and the highest levels of homelessness since the Great Depression. There are more empty apartments in New York City than there are homeless people. Our first priority needs to be to preserve the affordable housing stock we currently have, while implementing sensible, progressive policies that encourage the building of new affordable housing, like supporting nonprofit affordable housing developers.
What would you do to address the homelessness in New York State?
The affordable-housing crisis we are facing is directly connected to homelessness. To address homelessness, we need to support the preservation and expansion of affordable housing by strengthening our rent laws. We also need to support and expand programs that have been successful at addressing root causes of homelessness, such as supportive housing.
What is your position regarding campaign-finance reform?
I am proud to sponsor bill S.1085C, which would require information on intermediaries to be included in campaign contribution filings. This, along with the closing of the LLC loophole in campaign-finance regulation, are effective and simple ways we can ensure a more fair and transparent system surrounding campaign financing.